Israel OKs settler homes, Hillary slams



Zeenews Bureau

Jerusalem: The United States on Saturday criticised the decision taken by Israel to build 3,000 settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, as per BBC news report.

“These activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as per report.

The development came in response to the Palestinians' historic success in being recognised as a non-member state at the United Nations.

During the landmark vote in New York yesterday, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly backed a resolution recognising Palestine within the 1967 borders as a non-member observer state.

The news report added that the decision was a major diplomatic coup for the Palestinians but a stinging slap in the face for Israel, which had lobbied hard to prevent it, arguing that it would cripple peace hopes.

The development came in response to the Palestinians' historic success in being recognised as a non-member state at the United Nations.

During the landmark vote in New York on Thursday, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly backed a resolution recognising Palestine within the 1967 borders as a non-member observer state.

The news report added that the decision was a major diplomatic coup for the Palestinians but a stinging slap in the face for Israel, which had lobbied hard to prevent it, arguing that it would cripple peace hopes.

Some of the construction would be in a highly contentious area of the West Bank known as E1, a corridor that runs between the easternmost edge of annexed Jerusalem and the Maaleh Adumim settlement, as per the BBC report.

Palestinians bitterly oppose the E1 project, as it effectively cuts the occupied West Bank in two north to south and makes the creation of a viable Palestinian state highly problematic.

The Palestinians want annexed east Jerusalem as capital of their promised, future state and vigorously oppose expansion plans for Maaleh Adumim, which lies five kilometres from the city's eastern edge.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the UN vote as "a meaningless decision that will not change anything on the ground," and said peace could only be found in "direct negotiations... And not in one-sided UN decisions."

But he also warned that by going to the UN, the Palestinians had "violated" previous agreements with Israel, such as the 1993 Oslo Accords, and that his country would "act accordingly."

(With PTI Inputs)